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Press Releases 2018

School Budgets

Friday, 26 January 2018

INTO Northern Secretary, Gerry Murphy, responding to the news that 632 schools have had their budgets for the 2017/18 year rejected by the Education Authority [EA] on the basis that they are unable to demonstrate they can stay within their budgetary allocation for the 2017/18 year, saying,

“This is the same EA that failed to live within its own budgetary allocation in the 2016/17 financial year by tens of millions and is on target to exceed again its budgetary allocation in this the 2017/18 financial year in similar terms.

It is also the same EA that only last week received an additional £8million from an ‘in year’ monitoring round. This money was allocated to specifically fund the surpluses that many of these schools had carefully planned for just such a rainy day as this and are relying upon to fund themselves over the three year budgetary cycle imposed on schools.

INTO demands to know why hasn’t this money been made available to schools now? If this money was made available rather than being with-held for reasons known only to EA it is likely that the 632 figure would be significantly reduced. Cuts that schools are being forced to make in this 17/18 year could be avoided and the level of provision available to our children and young people could be maintained at present levels.”

Mr Murphy demanded;

“That EA needs to reassure schools now in the ten weeks remaining of this financial year that they will be allowed to draw down on their planned financial surpluses. The money necessary to fund current staffing levels and maintain service provision in these 632 schools is available in many cases should access to the £8million be facilitated by EA.

It is also the case that senior leaders in these schools are being denied contractual salary entitlements because EA say the schools are outside of their budgetary allocation for the 17/18 year. Can EA clarify on what authority they are doing this, as a Board of Governors approves a salary uplift if the criteria is met by a senior leader, EA’s role is to simply to authorise payment. Payment for the vast majority of the 632 schools should not be an issue were EA to stop preventing them accessing their planned financial surplus.”

In conclusion Mr Murphy said:

“It appears to INTO that Principals and Boards and Governors are being taught a lesson for daring to challenge the level of  funding made available to schools and stating in huge numbers that they are unwilling to make the  further cuts demanded by EA. This is happening at the same time EA is appealing for ordinary citizens to put themselves forward, on a voluntary basis, to act a school governors. Who in their right mind would undertake such a role in the current circumstances?  

Meanwhile those schools in the voluntary sector or otherwise directly funded by the Department of Education have their funding paid directly into their bank accounts. This allows these schools to access planned surpluses without impediment. Inequality piled on inequality.

It is time that education here was funded at a level and in a manner that meets the needs of our children and young people. Those charged with leading and administering education at a system level are failing and it is our children and young people who will ultimately pay the price for this.”